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Eye on Security: Vista 7 is ‘Secure’, They Promised

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 7 — just like Vista and its processors — is still Swiss cheese based on the latest news

Breaking That Other OS

Yet another means of exploiting that other OS has been demonstrated by Sophos. An ordinary user can gain complete control of the system whether it is XP, Vista, “7″ etc. simply by running some code that tweaks a key in the registry. A workaround is to create a new key to block users from changing keys in the registry… Duh… How’s that for backwards compatibility?

This is another demonstration that M$ has created a monster running on nearly every PC on the planet that invites compromise. Now, hundreds of millions of users will have to do some dance with updates or tweak the registry themselves to do something that M$ neglected to do many years ago.

‘Nightmare’ kernel bug lets attackers evade Windows UAC security

Microsoft is investigating reports of an unpatched vulnerability in the Windows kernel that could be used by attackers to sidestep an important operating system security measure.

One security firm dubbed the bug a potential “nightmare,” but Microsoft downplayed the threat by reminding users that hackers would need a second exploit to launch remote attacks.

Newly discovered Windows kernel flaw bypasses UAC

Last week an exploit for a Windows kernel flaw was published by an unknown source. Presumably as a joke, details of the flaw, along with proof-of-concept code, were published on Code Project. Code Project is a programmer peer support community, containing many tutorials and useful snippets of code to assist developers. Malware developers are not the usual target audience for posts made to the site, and so perhaps unsurprisingly, the article has been removed (though is mirrored here).

The flaw is a privilege escalation vulnerability. Anyone who can run code on a Windows system can elevate her privileges to the highest level, and accordingly install back doors, compromise sensitive data, and so on. The flaw lies in a critical Windows driver called win32k.sys. The driver inappropriately handles certain data stored in the registry—data that is stored on a per-user basis, and hence accessible to any unprivileged program. The proof-of-concept code uses this flaw to elevate the privileges of the user running the demo code; it could just as well be used to install a back door or other malware.

Links 30/11/2010: Zeitgeist in KDE, New Gnome Shell Coverage, RHEL 6.0 Benchmarks

Posted in News Roundup at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A history of viruses on Linux

    We recently gave you a brief history of viruses on the Mac and as requested by a user we wanted to give you a history of viruses on Linux. Given the tight security integrated into Linux, it is difficult to take advantage of a vulnerability on the computer, but some programmers have found ways around the security measures. There are several free options for anti-virus on Linux that you really should use, even if it isn’t always running – a weekly or monthly scan doesn’t hurt. Free anti-virus solutions include: ClamAV, AVG, Avast and F-Prot.

  • Desktop

    • The good and bad news about Dell and Ubuntu

      In short, from a Windows user’s viewpoint, Ubuntu Light is a feature. I find it really annoying that Dell isn’t just not advertising Ubuntu Light; they’re not even telling their internal staff about it. My friend knew on seeing the Ubuntu Light setup windows appear knew what Ubuntu was and she had some idea what it would be good for. Most users would find it puzzling at best.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Zeitgeist coming to KDE

        The KDE desktop has taken the lead to bring the semantic desktop to users with their KDE 4.0 release. Although it had a rough start back then, IMHO Nepomuk always stood out as a major and remarkable service/technology.

      • GNOME’s Zeitgeist Is Coming To The KDE Desktop
      • Zeitgeist coming to KDE

        The KDE desktop has taken the lead to bring the semantic desktop to users with their KDE 4.0 release. Although it had a rough start back then, IMHO Nepomuk always stood out as a major and remarkable service/technology.

      • How a “Welded-to KDE 3.5 User” Began a Move to KDE 4.4 – Part 2

        In this second part of a two part guest editorial and tutorial Dr. Tony Young (an Australian Mycologist by trade) shares his trials, tribulations, successes and disappointments in working with the new version of KDE. In this installment he configures media players, K3b, Crossover Office, Lucid and Post Script and his final thoughts on his adventures.

      • Last Week in Amarok

        Similar artists applet now shows artist tags from Last.fm, and the full artist biography is shown when the artist image is clicked. It’s very nice to be able to listen to a stream from Last.fm, go to the Artist’s page in Last.fm, or even check out similar artists to any that sound interesting! A great way to Explore Your Music.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 Benchmarks

        There’s been a number of individuals and organizations asking us about benchmarks of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0, which was released earlier this month and we had benchmarked beta versions of RHEL6 in past months. For those interested in benchmarks of Red Hat’s flagship Linux operating system, here are some of our initial benchmarks comparing the official release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.0 to Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, openSUSE, Ubuntu, and Debian.

      • Red Hat to Present Technology Announcement via Webcast on November 30

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that members of the Red Hat executive team will host a press conference that will be broadcast live via webcast on Tuesday, November 30 at 11am ET.

      • Red Hat Closing in to Resistance

        New York, November 29th (TradersHuddle.com) – Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $43.68 with the current price action closing at just $43.32 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora board election results

          I’m happy to announce the results of our recent round of elections for at-large seats on the Fedora Board, FESCo, and FAmSCo.

    • Debian Family

      • How to find the right Debian packages: high-level search interface

        The Debian archive is known to be one of the largest software collections available in the free software world. With more than 16,000 source packages and 30,000 binary packages, users sometimes have trouble finding packages that are relevant to them.

      • An Invitation to Debian Novice Night – December 1, 2010

        It may be short notice, but if you are new to Linux, interested in Debian and live or work in the New York metro-area, check out Novice Night. It’s coming up this Wednesday. Info below is from Debian-NYC.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04: Network Manager Finally Gets AppIndicator Support

          Even though there was already work for getting ConnMan in Ubuntu (since 10.10), an update today in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal brings appindicator support for the Network Manager applet (you can see the changelog here). This is very important since Ubuntu will ditch the notification area soon, therefore the connection manager has to use an indicator applet.

        • Unity – What is it good for? An in-depth review.

          Unity could work, if it meets several important requirements: beauty and functionality.

        • Unity in Natty Evaluation 1

          Today I am finally finding Natty to be usably stable. So long as I stay away from Open Office, it seems to be running quite fine. So, I updated my maverick spider diagram in an attempt to capture where I think Unity is in the journey to being the Ubuntu desktop.

          In this first natty diagram, yellow is the target, blue is maverick, and that orangy color is my subjective assessment of Unity as it is today. You can review the criteria that I chose from assessment in a previous post.

        • Natty: Off To a Great Start!

          A little while back I blogged about the work planned for Natty in the community team. I just wanted to provide a quick status update to summarize progress so far in the cycle.

        • Testing Natty and Unity Safely With a USB Stick

          There is quite the buzz in the community about the new Compiz-driven Unity, and I know many of you are keen to play with it. Of course, do remember that it is incredibly early in the cycle and more things are likely to be broken than fixed as the transition is made. Some of you will be bummed out with the announcement that there will be no Maverick PPA for Unity, but fortunately, it is really easy to try Natty and Unity in a way that won’t involve sacrificing your current stable installation, or even touching your hard drive. You simply install and boot from a USB stick, and I wanted to share how to get this running.

        • LXC: Ubuntu Working to Improve Containers

          I’m not familiar enough with Ubuntu Development to know just how far this might go but at the very least it appears that some Ubuntu developers have identified as a goal to make LXC usable for production stuff and to put it on par with KVM.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu 10.10 Review

            A few years back, Ubuntu was my first taste of Linux. As I spent more time using it, I found there were other “flavors” available (namely Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc) Sharing many things with its big GNOME brother, it felt natural for me to get my first cup of KDE through Kubuntu.

            Unfortunately, back then KDE was going through some major changes (KDE 4.0), which added to the questionable stability of Kubuntu itself made the whole experience frustrating and disappointing. Initially, I thought it could be down to my lack of understanding of KDE, or perhaps that I didn’t install Kubuntu correctly. After reading many forum posts, though, I quickly realized that most people agreed that Kubuntu was not a good implementation of the KDE desktop. The average reply was recommending other alternatives, such as OpenSUSE, Mandriva, PCLinuxOS, etc.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • No silver lining in Chrome OS delays

        Schmidt reiterated at the Web 2.0 conference in November that Android is optimized for devices where touch-screen input rules, while Chrome OS is meant more for devices with traditional keyboards. The last time Google provided a significant update about Chrome OS, Sundar Pichai, the leader of the Chrome OS project, said Google was drawing up specific Netbook hardware requirements for partners that were likely to involve larger screens and keyboards than the industry standard Netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What’s wrong with proprietary IM (ICQ, AIM, YIM, MSN/WLM)

    To conclude, I’d suggest either joining a trusted XMPP server or better yet run your own server. Personally I’m very happy with Gabbler since they promise not to log any data about you and would recommend them (sadly they don’t accept new accounts at the moment). There are quite a few XMPP servers though that provide a smilarly sane privacy policy out there.

  • Migrations From MATLAB to GNU Octave

    If you are interested in converting fellow staff and their students to Octave, remember that it suits an educational environment much better as it encourages sharing and collaborating, not asking for permissions, paying heavy fees/fines, and begging developers to fix bugs rather than have access to the source code, which in turn enables participation. Additionally, most of the basic functions are truly compatible with MATLAB’s and the lack of JIT optimisation, for example, should not matter much in an educational setting. Not many people create MATLAB GUIs either, so there is hardly a need for such advanced functionality. At a later date I hope to make some screencasts about Octave.

  • Open source software more suitable for Oxford

    Open source software is more attractive and better suited to traditional education needs, the IT head of Oxford University has said.

  • Five reasons to be grumpy about 2010

    Last week, at least for those of us in the United States, was time to give thanks. And while I have plenty to give thanks about personally, I can’t say the same thing when it comes to FOSS developments. Looking back on 2010, it’s been kind of a crappy year.

  • An Environment to Test Linux and OpenOffice? What about an Academic Dissertation?

    The members of the tribunal were very satisfied…I ended my degree in Education successfully thanks to Open Source. THANK YOU, LINUX; THANK YOU, OPEN OFFICE!

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 7 (build OOO330m17) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 7 is now available on the download website. Unfortunately, not all Windows builds are complete yet as the remaining still needs to be signed. Please be patient.

    • Time to Move On

      I joined Sun over 20 years ago; since then I’ve worked on many projects, enjoyed Sun’s culture and had a blast during the GlassFish years. The interregnum between the IBM rumor, the Oracle announcement and the Change in Control was way too long, but by February we started integrating the team and the products into Oracle.

    • Moving Java forward through the JCP?

      Mark Reinhold recently pointed out that he, Joe Darcy and Brian Goetz had submitted their OpenJDK work on features for JDK7 and JDK8 to the JCP for standardization. Normally I am somewhat sceptical about the JCP. I don’t believe the JCP fosters a truly open process and discourages Free Software implementations. But Mark, Joe and Brian seem to be proving me wrong. Of course that shouldn’t have surprised me, since they have shown themselves to do everything in the open and actively involve the community in all their OpenJDK work. All their code has been published under the GPL for everyone’s free use.

    • Oracle erects mystery Sparc SuperCluster

      It looks like Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison is getting ready to whip out his hardware again and measure it up against wares from IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

      While the United States was getting ready to stuff tens of millions of turkeys last week, Oracle put out a teaser saying that on December 2 it would announce the details of a “New Sparc Solaris Sunrise SuperCluster,” which will sport “world record database performance.”

  • CMS

    • WordPress welcomes Microsoft refugees!

      Of course WordPress gets new users out of this agreement and the blogging service which I think is the definitive choice for blogging on the net will expand with the mass migration of the refugees from Microsoft.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Manufacturing Contempt through the Commoditization of Practically Everything
    • Summary theses on the emergence of the peer to peer civilization and a new political economy

      1. Our current world system is marked by a profoundly counterproductive logic of social organization:

      a) it is based on a false concept of abundance in the limited material world; it has created a system based on infinite growth, within the confines of finite resources

      b) it is based on a false concept of scarcity in the infinite immaterial world; instead of allowing continuous experimental social innovation, it purposely erects legal and technical barriers to disallow free cooperation through copyright, patents, etc…

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Almost 60% of Wellcome-funded papers in PMC are fully open access

        The Wellcome Trust’s Open Access policy has always made it clear that it considers dissemination costs as legitimate research costs and as such provides grantholders with additional funding, through their institutions, to cover open access charges.

        In view of this I thought it would be interesting to see how many papers, attributed to the Wellcome Trust and available through PMC and UKPMC, were “fully” open access papers, in accordance with the Bethesda Principles.

  • Programming

    • Migrating to Distributed Version Control

      A few weeks ago I migrated two major projects to distributed version control systems (DVCS), leaving only one project in Subversion, the one hosted on Savannah. As you can read in my prior posts, I have resisted switching over to DVCS. However, recently I’ve understood the benefits propounded by DVCS adherents, and I’ve found that it has more features than most tutorials let on.


  • Complaining about information overload in the time of Ecclesiastes
  • Xinhua, NBC forge business partnership in TV news service

    Xinhua News Agency and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) here Tuesday to establish a multi-level business partnership in the area of international TV news service.

  • 490 – Map of the World’s Countries Rearranged by Population

    What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?

  • Picasso’s Electrician Claims to Own Hundreds of Works
  • Science

    • Spanish woman claims ownership of the Sun

      After billions of years the Sun finally has an owner — a woman from Spain’s soggy region of Galicia said Friday she had registered the star at a local notary public as being her property.

    • The mismeasurement of science

      Albert Einstein’s greatest scientific “blunder” (his word) came as a sequel to his greatest scientific achievement. That achievement was his theory of gravity, the general theory of relativity, which he introduced in 1915. Two years later, in 1917, Einstein ran into a problem while trying to apply general relativity to the Universe as a whole. At the time, Einstein believed that on large scales the Universe is static and unchanging. But he realized that general relativity predicts that such a Universe can’t exist: it would spontaneously collapse in on itself. To solve this problem, Einstein modified the equations of general relativity, adding an extra term involving what is called the “cosmological constant”, which, roughly speaking, is a type of pressure which keeps a static Universe from collapsing.

    • CERN … fascinating insight into scientific collaboration

      The end of a busy week. I promised to write about CERN, so here we go (there is a full set of photos of the visit here). CERN is a unique organisation, a truly global corporation where people from all over the world work together on nuclear research. Often they are working together virtually, but often also “on-campus” so to say near the French border outside Geneva. Having seen it now I fully understand why people strive to go there, if only for a few weeks of summer school. It is obviously a defining experience.

    • RNA, obey

      Scientists are one step closer to learning how to program cells the way other people program computers.

      Researchers led by Christina Smolke, a biochemical engineer at Stanford University, report the accomplishment in the Nov. 26 Science.

      Smolke and her colleagues created RNA devices that could rewire cells to sense certain conditions and respond by making particular proteins. Such technology might be harnessed for creating cell-based therapies and cancer-fighting treatments. Someday, scientists might also be able to flip an RNA switch to make plants more tolerant to drought or coax yeast to produce industrial chemicals.

    • science@creativecommons T-shirts now available in the CC store!

      November has been an exciting month for science at Creative Commons. Earlier this month we hosted a Creative Commons Salon in San Francisco on the promises and pitfalls of personalized medicine, which you can now watch online. We met a matching giving challenge by Hindawi, the open access scholarly journal publisher (disciplines from neuroscience to pharmacology), who doubled $3000 in donations to our annual fundraising campaign. We also saw BioMed Central, the world’s largest OA publisher, provide in-kind support for our fundraising campaign.

    • NASA Sets News Conference on Astrobiology Discovery; Science Journal Has Embargoed Details Until 2 p.m. EST On Dec. 2

      NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.

    • Ray Kurzweil’s Slippery Futurism

      His stunning prophecies have earned him a reputation as a tech visionary, but many of them don’t look so good on close inspection

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks: the revolution has begun – and it will be digitised

      Diplomacy has always involved dinners with ruling elites, backroom deals and clandestine meetings. Now, in the digital age, the reports of all those parties and patrician chats can be collected in one enormous database. And once collected in digital form, it becomes very easy for them to be shared.

      Indeed, that is why the Siprnet database – from which these US embassy cables are drawn – was created in the first place. The 9/11 commission had made the remarkable discovery that it wasn’t sharing information that had put the nation’s security at risk; it was not sharing information that was the problem. The lack of co-operation between government agencies, and the hoarding of information by bureaucrats, led to numerous “lost opportunities” to stop the 9/11 attacks. As a result, the commission ordered a restructuring of government and intelligence services to better mimic the web itself. Collaboration and information-sharing was the new ethos. But while millions of government officials and contractors had access to Siprnet, the public did not.

    • Trial to begin December 7th in TSA checkpoint case

      We’re reported before on the arrest of Phillip Mocek just over a year ago at a TSA checkpoint at the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and his prosecution by local authorities on trumped-up criminal charges.

      Now, after several postponements, Phil Mocek’s trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Tuesday morning, December 7th, 2010, in Albuquerque. The trial is expected to last 2-3 days. There’s more information here.

      (The trial has been postponed several times, and might be postponed again, but this date appears to be for real, and Mr. Mocek is making firm travel plans — by land, not by air — to be in Albuquerque.)

    • Robert Redford, the Newsmedia and the WikiLeaks’ Cablegate

      WikiLeaks was gifted with a heap of really important information. In order to ensure dissemination, they passed them around to five major news outlets located in 5 different countries. Each were aware the others had the story, so they ALL had no CHOICE but to publish, with or without corporate or government approval.

      In this way, WikiLeaks guaranteed that the story broke and spread.

      UK: The Guardian US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomacy crisis

      SPAIN: El Pais The greater infiltration of history reveals the secrets of American foreign policy (Google translation to English)

      USA: New York Times: Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

      FRANCE: LeMonde WikiLeaks: Behind the Scenes of American diplomacy (Google translation to English)

      der Spiegel: Greatest Data Leak in US Military History

    • US embassy cables: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment

      Is it justified? Should a newspaper disclose virtually all a nation’s secret diplomatic communication, illegally downloaded by one of its citizens? The reporting in the Guardian of the first of a selection of 250,000 US state department cables marks a recasting of modern diplomacy. Clearly, there is no longer such a thing as a safe electronic archive, whatever computing’s snake-oil salesmen claim. No organisation can treat digitised communication as confidential. An electronic secret is a contradiction in terms.

    • China directs local media outlets to stop reporting WikiLeaks content China stops WikiLeaks reporting

      While the world’s media are afire with yesterday’s WikiLeaks data release of secret US diplomatic cables, the local media in China are strangely quiet.

      The reason, according to a Twitter update by Al Jazeera English’s correspondent in China, Melissa Chan a short while ago, is that China’s Propaganda Department have directed all domestic media outlets to stop reporting the WikiLeaks content.

    • Can Wikileaks be stopped?

      The entire world seems to be looking at Wikileaks after the release of some of the almost 250,000 diplomatic wires from U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. Endless lines will be written about this, my own view is close to what Simon Jenkins writes in his commentary piece in The Guardian, the media has the right to embarrass the powerful.

    • Why I Will Not Analyze The New WikiLeaks Data

      The latest leak typifies the identity and culture of WikiLeaks and by continuing to analyze new disclosures I am tacitly supporting this, which is something I will not do. WikiLeaks’ motivation is that of a court jester, to mock and ridicule the contradictions of a state. However, they present themselves as a sage with the wisdom to adjudicate the public relevance of all information, which is the greatest contradiction of all.

      To be clear, this is an entirely personal decision, and is not meant to discourage others from endeavoring to glean insight from this new data. The substantive value of the day-to-day machinations of diplomats, however, is dubious at best—even at aggregate.

      Openness of information can lead to great things, not the least of which is the democratization of knowledge in ways never before possible. Shoving private messages into the public sphere without any context or care for the consequences can lead to misunderstanding, fear, and aggression. Unfortunately, WikiLeaks appears to be in the business of promoting the latter.

    • Oregon mosque attended by bomb plot suspect target of apparent arson

      The FBI announced a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for an apparent attack on an Oregon Islamic center that was attended by the man authorities say was behind a foiled bomb plot at a recent Portland Christmas tree lighting.

      A fire appears to have started sometime early Sunday morning at the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, authorities said. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage.

      Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was seized in connection with the plan to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, occasionally attended the center, the mosque’s imam told CNN.

      The blaze – discovered by a police officer who was driving by – was likely set intentionally, said Carla Pusateri, a fire prevention officer with the Corvallis Fire Department.

    • Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist group

      The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

      Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel’s presumptive next head, asked the Obama administration today to “determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization,” putting the group in the same company as al-Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway.

    • Wikileaks removed from ACMA blacklist

      No parts of whistleblower website Wikileaks are now on the Australian blacklist of banned websites, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

      In March 2009 the ACMA revealed that a number of pages on Wikileaks were put on the blacklist of banned websites because the pages linked to websites on Denmark’s blacklist.

    • Cablegate: Journalists in defence of WikiLeaks [Update 1]

      John Kampfner, The Independent / Index on Censorship: Wikileaks shows up our media for their docility at the feet of authority

      “All governments have a legitimate right to protect national security. This should be a specific, and closely scrutinised, area of policy. Most of our secrecy rules are designed merely to protect politicians and officials from embarrassment. Documents are habitually over-classified for this purpose. The previous government made desperate attempts to stop legal evidence of its collusion in torture from reaching the public. Ministers argued, speciously, that this was to protect the “special intelligence relationship” with Washington. It will be intriguing to see how much information is allowed to be published when Sir Peter Gibson begins his official inquiry. Precedent suggests little grounds for optimism.

    • Wikileaks: the Web Watches and Waits

      It’s also not hard to see US hardliners calling for Wikileaks to be “taken off the Web” by blocking its address (the COICA approach). Of course, that wouldn’t stop people accessing Wikileaks – there are plenty of ways of getting around this. That might then prompt the US to attempt to wipe the address off the official Internet completely, with the support of other governments around the world that are already increasingly unhappy with the threat that Wikileaks poses to their control.

      That collusion is likely to be forthcoming. Indeed, Australia has already put Wikileaks on its own censorship blacklist once – ironically for daring to reveal details of Denmarks’ censorship blacklist. Apparently, though, it is currently off Australia’s (but it will be interesting to see for how long once the revelations from the cables start flowing…)

    • The Guardian gave State Dept. cables to the NY Times

      New York Times editors said Sunday that although the paper’s reporters had been digging through WikiLeaks trove of 250,000 State Department cables for “several weeks,” the online whistleblower wasn’t the source of the documents.

      But if WikiLeaks—which allegedly obtained the cables from a 22-year-old army private—wasn’t the Times source, than who was? Apparently, The Guardian—one of the five newspapers that had an advanced look at the cables—supplied a copy of the cables to The Times.

    • TSA Scanner Proof Underwear Protects Your Privates from Government X-Rays

      A special, lead-free powdered metal is decoratively affixed to men’s boxers or briefs. When TSA screeners try to check your most personal space, the X-ray will reveal a less embarrassing natural shape, a fig leaf. You can pick these up in a “USA Patriot 3 Pack,” one red, one white, one blue for $50. A one pack goes for $18. (Click through the sideshow to see X-ray views.)

    • WikiLeaks degenerates into gossip

      More broadly, though, this release seems to me to mark another step down for the WikiLeaks concept. WikiLeaks’s release of the “Collateral Murder” video last April was a pretty scrupulous affair: an objective record of combat activity which American armed forces had refused to release, with careful backing research on what the video showed. What we got was a window into combat reality, through the sights of a helicopter gunship. You could develop different interpretations of that video depending on your understanding of its context, but it was something important that had actually taken place.

    • China Trying to Plug Wikileak?

      Can the world’s most elaborate censorship system put the clamps on the Internet’s most prolific source of confidential information?

      A day after WikiLeaks began to release a quarter-million diplomatic cables sent from U.S. embassies, propaganda authorities in Beijing appear to be trying to control how much of the content of those cables leaks through to the Chinese public.

    • Wikileaks: US sought DNA, passwords of world leaders

      The big story circulating around the globe is that Arab nations have been urging the US to bear down on Iran.

      “King Hamad pointed to Iran as the source of much of the trouble in both Iraq and Afghanistan,” one November 2009 cable discloses.

      According to the memo, Bahrain’s Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was speaking to General David Petraeus. “He argued forcefully for taking action to terminate their nuclear program, by whatever means necessary. ‘That program must be stopped,’ he said. ‘The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it.’”

      But the cables are also chock full of intelligence-gathering bombshells.

    • WikiLeaks cables: ‘Rude’ Prince Andrew shocks US ambassador

      Prince Andrew launched a scathing attack on British anticorruption investigators, journalists and the French during an “astonishingly candid” performance at an official engagement that shocked a US diplomat.

      Tatiana Gfoeller, Washington’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, recorded in a secret cable that Andrew spoke “cockily” at the brunch with British and Canadian business people, leading a discussion that “verged on the rude”.

    • TSA Terrorize A Disabled 4 Year Old Boy By Removing His Leg Braces, Then Forcing Him To Walk
    • Israeli Government Documents Show Deliberate Policy To Keep Gazans At Near-starvation Levels

      This documents the statement made by a number of Israeli officials that they are “putting the people of Gaza on a diet”.

    • Who is killing Iran’s nuclear scientists?

      Assassins on motorbikes have killed an Iranian nuclear scientist and wounded another in identical attacks this morning. They drove up to the scientists’ cars as they were leaving for work and attached a bomb to each vehicle which detonated seconds later.

      The man who was killed was Majid Shahriari, a member of the engineering faculty at the Shahid Beheshti in Tehran. His wife was wounded. The second attack wounded Fereidoun Abbasi, who is also a professor at Shahid Besheshti University, and his wife.

    • GOP nutbars out over WikiLeaks … and Dems?

      The only life I see in imminent danger is Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the country’s former president, will probably have Berlusconi whacked in an omerta-style hit now that it’s been revealed we see Silvio as Vlad the Impaler’s sock puppet.

      I can’t wait for the full 250,000 pages to be sorted through and commented on; I “can’t wait” with baited scare quote breath for GOP wingnuts and ball-less Democrats to try to outdo each other in either real or fake hysteria.

      And, given its recent missive, I can’t wait, and “can’t wait,” for The Nation to bury its head further up Obama’s ass by saying the Koch brothers are funding Julian Assange.

    • WikiLeaks re-taunts feds with US Amazon mirrors

      WikiLeaks is hosting its cache of confidential US Statement Department cables on US-based Amazon servers, just as it did with with the classified Iraq War documents it released last month.

    • WikiLeaks US embassy cables: as it happened


      Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public … Everywhere there’s a US post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed … It’s beautiful, and horrifying.

      So wrote Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old former intelligence analyst, suspected of being behind the leak of more than 250,000 dispatches from US embassies around the world.

    • Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal “Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership”
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP sued in Ecuador for violating the “rights of Nature”

      Ecuador’s recent constitutional recognition of the “rights of Nature” is getting its first major workout in a groundbreaking lawsuit against BP: “This morning we filed in the constitutional court of Ecuador this lawsuit defending the rights of nature in particular the right of the Gulf of Mexico and the sea which has been violated by the BP oil spill. We see this as a test case of the rights of nature enshrined in the constitution of Ecuador–it’s about universal jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of Ecuador because nature has rights everywhere.”

  • Finance

    • Mind the gap: bumper bonuses are back, yet millions struggle on welfare in US

      Growing inequality at the heart of the US economy is being laid bare this holiday season.

      Conspicuous consumption is back on Wall Street, in anticipation of bonuses close to pre-recession levels. Some American companies have just posted the largest quarterly profits ever. Meanwhile, one in five families is relying on food stamps to get by and unemployment remains stuck at around 10%.

    • Some Very Creative Economic Fix-Its

      It’s a cheerless truth about the post-Thanksgiving start of the Christmas season, traditionally the bell lap in America’s year-long steeplechase of buying. There has been a rebound in consumption since the grimmest days of the Great Recession, but that has not been joined by an uptick in hiring or a robust expansion.

    • How Congress’ tax-cut decision may affect economy

      On this, economists agree: Extending tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush for low- and middle-income people would strengthen the weak economy.
      The question is what to do about the highest-paid 3 percent of taxpayers. Should Congress let their tax cuts expire at year’s end as scheduled? Extend them for only a while? Or make them permanent?

    • Next Financial Crisis May Start in Washington, Says Bair

      You can add one more item to the list of problems keeping Sheila C. Bair up at night. The nation’s capitol, she fears, will be ground zero of the next financial crisis.

    • Attention: Deficit

      Do you consider yourself a deficit alarmist?
      No, I’m a deficit realist.

    • Trustee for Madoff victims files 40 lawsuits in NY

      Relatives of both Bernard Madoff and his wife are among those being targeted in 40 lawsuits announced Friday by the trustee endeavoring to recover money for victims fleeced by the disgraced financier.

      Twenty-two of the lawsuits were filed against relatives of Madoff and his wife, trustee Irving H. Picard said in a news release. Eighteen lawsuits were filed against former employees of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, he said.

    • Big New York insider trading probe spawns another

      An insider trading case last year that federal authorities said was the biggest ever is providing a recipe for another case that may be even bigger.

      The current case is largely an extension of work that led to the arrest of Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam in October 2009. The Galleon investigation marked the first time that federal authorities used wiretaps in an insider trading probe.

    • Don’t Just Tell Us. Show Us That You Can Foreclose.

      Some in the industry believe that questions about this issue — known as “legal standing” — are trivial. They say it’s just a gambit by borrowers’ lawyers to throw sand in the foreclosure machine. Nine times out of 10, bankers say, the right institutions are foreclosing on the right borrowers.

    • The Give and Take of Liar Loans

      This same company is now insisting that other lenders that made stated-income loans — loans that Countrywide eagerly bought to fatten its balance sheet — must repurchase them on the grounds that, golly, the loans turned out to be fraudulent. The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    • The Irish Non-bailout

      So, a credit line at 5.8 percent interest. Considering that Ireland was able to borrow at that rate as recently as mid-September, and was falling off a cliff then, why is this supposed to solve the problem?

    • Imperious Institutions, Impotent Individuals

      Whatever happens to the economy, the threads that weave individuals and institutions together will continue to fray until leaders of all sorts rethink their fundamental assumptions about the relationship between human beings and organizations.

    • The bill for PFI contracts is an outrage. Let us refuse to pay this odious debt

      You’ve been told that nothing is sacred; that no state spending is safe from being cut or eroded through inflation. You’ve been misled. As the new public spending data released by the government shows, a £267bn bill has been both ringfenced and index-linked. This sum, spread over the next 50 years or so, guarantees the welfare not of state pensioners or children or the unemployed, but of a different class of customer. To make way, everything else must be cut, further and faster than it would otherwise have been.

    • Exclusive: WikiLeaks Will Unveil Major Bank Scandal

      First WikiLeaks spilled the guts of government. Next up: The private sector, starting with one major American bank.

      In an exclusive interview earlier this month, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major U.S. financial firm in early 2011. Assange wouldn’t say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compared the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial, a comprehensive look at a corporation’s bad behavior.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Anti-Allah outburst earns EDL supporter £200 fine after protest in Leicester

      A man has been fined for making offensive comments about Allah during the English Defence League protest in Leicester.

      Lee Whitby was found guilty of using racially aggravated abusive words during the protest in the city centre on Saturday, October 9.

    • Home Office concedes to meeting

      The Home Office, after several weeks of requests from ORG and others, has agreed to a meeting of civil society representatives next week concerning their review of enforcement of RIPA’s interception laws.

    • Peter Sunde Wants To Create Alternative To ICANN

      “According to Peter Sunde’s Twitter feed, he has been suspicious of ICANN for a long time. The non-profit corporation is tasked with managing both the IPv4 and IPv6 address spaces as well as handling the management of top-level domain name space including the operation of root nameservers.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • In praise of dead trees

      The important aspects of e-reader devices come from the restrictions which digital text place on the reader. Because of the digital restrictions management put on e-book files, you cannot share books with your friends. You cannot borrow them from the library. You cannot make a copy in a different format. That is exactly what the publishers and proprietors of e-readers want. Content providers want each consumer to be in a silo. Every good and work they want to consume would be purchased directly, and sharing would not be possible, since every purchased would be bound to the original consumer.

    • Netflix Partner Says Comcast ‘Toll’ Threatens Online Video Delivery

      Level 3 Communications, a central partner in the Netflix online movie service, accused Comcast on Monday of charging a new fee that puts Internet video companies at a competitive disadvantage.

      Level 3, which helps to deliver Netflix’s streaming movies, said Comcast had effectively erected a tollbooth that “threatens the open Internet,” and indicated that it would seek government intervention. Comcast quickly denied that the clash had anything to do with network neutrality, instead calling it “a simple commercial dispute.”

    • Level 3 Alleges Comcast Demanded Fees To Deliver Internet Content

      Network services provider Level 3 Communications on Monday alleged Comcast forced it to pay recurring fees to transmit Internet video and other content to cable customers, but the MSO countered that Level 3 misrepresented negotiations between the two companies and was trying to get a “free ride” on its network.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Property Appears to Figure Prominently In Wikileaks Cablegate

      Intellectual property policy has long been closely linked to U.S. trade policy, so it should come as little surprise to find that it appears to figure prominently in the cables obtained by Wikileaks. Although only a couple hundreds have been posted thus far, the Guardian has supplied a full list of all 251,287 cables. The list includes tags for each cable, so that the subject matter can be decoded. The Guardian has also posted a glossary of the tags, but omits KIPR, which appears to be the intellectual property tag (I base this conclusion on the correlation between the KIPR tag and the WIPO tag, to a specific reference to copyright in one of the cables, and the fact that IPR is a common acronym for intellectual property rights).

    • Copyrights

      • Warp Speed at the Copyright Board – Towards an Interim AC Tariff?

        If you think that the Copyright Board has been moving quickly on the AC proposed $45/$35 1,300% increase tariff up to now, it has just pushed the warp speed button.

      • AC’s proposed $45/$35 Tariff – Board Ruling of Nov 25 2010 on Intervenors etc.
      • A Brief History of Copyright
      • YouTube Reinstates Ally ASL’s Account

        Allyson Townsend, better known to her fans as Ally ASL, made headlines earlier this month when YouTube shut down her account after Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group complained that her videos, which featured Ally translating pop songs by Kesha, Owl City and others into American Sign Language, were violating those songs’ copyrights.

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyers Sued For Fraud, Abuse and Extortion

        The US Copyright Group thought it had found the ideal scheme to turn piracy into profit when it started filing lawsuits against tens of thousands of BitTorrent users this year. But the defendants in the Far Cry lawsuits have now become the plaintiffs in a class action filed against the anti-piracy lawyers and their partners. Among other things, the lawyers are accused of fraud, extortion and abuse.

      • US Copyright Group Sued For Extortion, Conspiracy & Fraud

        Well, the whole mass automated “pay up or we’ll sue” legal business may be getting a bit more interesting as Evan Brown notes that one of the folks sued by US Copyright Group has struck back with a class action lawsuit alleging that the law firm behind USCG, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, is engaged in extortion, fraud and conspiracy. The lawsuit looks to include in the class the nearly 5,000 people sued by USCG for sharing the Uwe Boll film Far Cry. The lawsuit highlights — as we pointed out earlier this year — many of the alleged infringements happened prior to registration, meaning that there would be no statutory damages available.

      • The Pirate Bay Decision, or the Political Persecution of Sharing

        The decision to sentence the co-founders of The Pirate Bay to jail is both absurd and unfair. It illustrates how an obsolete copyright law and its indiscrimate application are harmful to society as a whole. Such an incomprehension of technological, economic and social realities should not mask the fact that this decision is above all political.

      • French Author Plagiarizes Wikipedia; Does That Mean His Entire Book Is Now CC Licensed?

        PrometheeFeu alerts us to a fascinating situation happening in France. Apparently, a successful French author, Michel Houellebecq, recently came out with a novel, La Carte et Le Territoire. However, it turns out that Houellebecq copied decent chunks of three separate Wikipedia articles in the novel, without any credit or indication that he was quoting another source. This is what is normally referred to as plagiarism — or, in some views, sampling. This isn’t all that surprising, and we hear stories of plagiarism in books all the time. In fact, we tend to think that people get way too upset over such things in books. After being called on it, Houellebecq appears to have admitted to copying those sections.

      • Supreme Court refuses innocent infringement P2P case

        The US Supreme Court today refused to hear the case of a file-swapper who claimed she was an “innocent infringer,” but one justice at least understands the absurdity of the current law.

        The case concerned Whitney Harper, who shared some music on the family computer when she was a teenager and was subsequently hit with a lawsuit from the RIAA. Harper claimed that she was an “innocent infringer” who went straight when she learned about copyright law, and that she had thought P2P use was basically like (legal) Internet radio.

      • EFF Asks Judges to Protect Identities in Porn-Downloading Lawsuits

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has asked judges in Texas and West Virginia to block requests to unmask accused file sharers in several predatory copyright troll lawsuits involving the alleged illegal downloading of pornography.

        The cases were filed by two different companies and involve different copyrighted adult material. However, the tactics are the same. In both cases, the owners of the adult movies filed mass lawsuits based on single counts of copyright infringement stemming from the downloading of a pornographic film, and improperly lump hundreds of defendants together regardless of where the IP addresses indicate the defendants live. Consistent with a recent spike in similar “copyright troll” lawsuits, the motivation behind these cases appears to be to leverage the risk of embarrassment associated with pornography to coerce settlement payments despite serious problems with the underlying claims.

      • After Police Raid, Mulve File-Sharing App Operator Cleared Of Wrong Doing

        After being in quiet development for some months, in September the Mulve music downloading app hit the mainstream. Very quickly everything went sour, with British police swooping on the guy who registered the Mulve domain and placing him under arrest on a range of charges from copyright infringement through to conspiracy to defraud. Today we can report the outcome. For once it’s good news.

      • US Government Responds To Domain Seizures, Ignores The Big Question

        The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have just confirmed the seizure of 82 domains as part of Operation in Our Sites 2. The authorities claim the actions were targeted at websites that were involved in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit and copyrighted goods, but fail to explain why a BitTorrent meta-search engine was included.

Clip of the Day

KDE 4.5.8 Base – Brief Preview

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: November 29th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now


TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General

Posted in TechBytes at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:53:45, 32.6 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (52.1 MB)

Summary: This show concentrates on the smartphones market and in particular on how failing to compete based on technical merit alone, companies like Apple and Microsoft try to tax or ban their competition which is Linux based

TODAY’S show finally touches the issue of software patents. Tim’s site, OpenBytes, has published some show notes and we must apologise for connection issues that harmed the quality of this recording.

RSS 64x64Today’s show ends with “Pianist Envy” from Chilly Gonzales (at SXSW 2010 Showcasing Artists). We hope you will join us for future shows and spread the word if you enjoy this audiocast which is only a month old. Also consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed and visit our archives. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010

Links 29/11/2010: Puppy Linux/Quirky 1.4 is Out, CentOS 6 Out Soon

Posted in News Roundup at 1:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 178 – I Want It Dead!

      On the show this week: Novell being bought with IP being sold off to a Microsoft spinoff, more crap from Fedora on SQLNinja, IE presumably cheating in benchmarks, Jolibook being sold in the UK, awesome kernel patches while Linus lays down the smackdown for bad ones and more…

    • Linux Radio
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KWin Is Now Running On OpenGL ES 2.0

        For a while we have known that KDE developers have been interested in supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 (and OpenGL 3.x) within the KWin compositing window manager as well as using more OpenGL within the Plasma Desktop and on the KWin front the developers, led by Martin Gräßlin, they have been making great progress towards KDE SC 4.7 where this work will be introduced.

      • LinuxDay in Dornbirn, AT … or an extraordinary day of success stories

        It is 11pm and I am on my way home from LinuxDay in Dornbirn, Austria. It was a long but amazing day. Myriam, Mark and myself were at the KDE and Amarok booth. Surprisingly Christoph (a local KDE on Gentoo user/hacker) supported us rather the whole day.

      • Seven Improvements Needed in KDE

        The Desktop Toolkit is the small widget that sits on the upper right on the edge of the screen. Originally shaped like a cashew, it now looks like a tab. Click on it, and you find all sorts of useful tools: Add Widgets, Add Activity, Lock Widgets, and others. However, some users never seem to have looked at it, considering that Fedora has a package called kde-plasma-ihatethecashew whose sole purpose is to remove it.

        What people have noticed is that the Desktop Toolkit gets in the way. Place a panel at the top of the screen, and it overlays the similarly shaped panel customization button so that you can never be sure what you are clicking.

        You can drag the cashew to some other place (mine is on the bottom left), but many people haven’t noticed that, either. At any rate, no matter where you place it, the Toolkit looks like a menu, but doesn’t close when you click elsewhere on the desktop; instead, you have to click on the button again.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Reviews: Triaging a trio – Upstream OS, Fuduntu and LightDesktop

        All in all it was a disappointing week for me. Upstream OS provided me with a lengthy start-up process which hit a few bumps along the way. Fuduntu is basically a Fedora clone with GIMP and OpenOffice, driving up the size of the ISO. LightDesktop’s concept intrigued me, but the project needs to add some applications and improve on the installer before I would recommend it. It’s at least trying something different and I believe that to be worth while. I found it interesting that both Upstream OS and LightDesktop booted into login screens rather than automatically loading the desktop. Fuduntu’s concept of having a different scheduler and some tweaks to swap are interesting ideas, but I think the project would be better off presenting itself as a Fedora community spin rather than a separate distro.

    • New Releases

      • Puppy Linux founder releases Quirky 1.4

        Puppy Linux founder Barry Kauler has announced the release of version 1.4 of Quirky. The Quirky Linux distribution is a platform for trying out new, “quirky ideas” and is in the same family as Puppy Linux, but its creator points out that it’s a “distinct distro in its own right.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • Google Insights and Tweets for CentOS 6

        CentOS 6 is just round the corner and what better way to watch the build up than Google Insights and Twitter. Below are two widgets of interest first being Google Insights with the search term “CentOS 6″ and the second is a Twitter widget from TweetGrid searching for the hash tag #CentOS6

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 12 approaches end of life

          Fedora Project developer Kevin Fenzi has issued a reminder that Fedora 12, code named “Constantine”, will reach its end of life (EOL) on Thursday, the 2nd of December, 2010. Originally released in mid-November of last year, Fedora 11 featured the 2.6.31 Linux kernel, version 2.28 of the GNOME desktop environment, KDE 4.3 and a number of software updates. As of the 2nd of December, no new updates, including security updates and critical fixes, will be available. The developers strongly advise all Fedora 12 users to upgrade to Fedora 13 or 14 to continue receiving updates.

    • Debian Family

      • About ZFS in Squeeze (2)

        This means that Debian Squeeze will be one of the first GNU distributions to support ZFS.

      • Let’s build a Debian for Development Data

        I just returned from an intense week in the UK: an IKM Emergent workshop in Oxford, and the Open Government Data Camp in London had me almost drowning in “open data” examples and conversations, with a particular angle on aid data and the perspectives of international development.

        As the result of that, I think we’re ready for a “Debian for Development Data”: a collection of data sets, applications and documentation to service community development, curated by a network of people and organisations who share crucial values on democratisation of information and empowerment of people.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Sound Menu plugin for Exaile music player

          Exaile music player users who wouldn’t mind controlling playback via the new Ubuntu Sound Menu can now get in on the action thanks to a new plugin created especially for this purpose.

        • Compiz in November 27 daily build of Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal
        • Exclusive Interview: Ubuntu Is The Number 1 Desktop OS

          Ubuntu, the Canonical-sponsored operating system is gaining new grounds – in both enterprise and consumer segments. The Company now has new challenges — the challenges which develop as a company grows. We talked to Prakash Advani, Partner Manager – Central Asia at Canonical, to understand how Canonical is preparing Ubuntu for the future.

          What are the challenges? Is Canonical planning to enter the hardware business and offer an Apple-like solution, fully optimized hardware for the OS? Has Ubuntu missed the tablet bus as Android, despite being not prepared for this form-factor has seen great adoption? What is Canonical’s stand on Apple using Canonical’s brand Launchpad? Will we see professional film-editing software on Ubuntu? Will you be playing the Call of Duty on Ubuntu any soon? There are many such questions buzzing every Ubuntu user. If you want to find out the answers, read on…

        • Flavours and Variants

          • A retro retro desktop facelift

            Well that’s a giant leap forward. :roll: Nothing like swirling together a vague tribute to an IceBuntu desktop, which was itself a vague tribute to the old Feisty Fawn desktop. Yeah, I’m really going out on a limb there.

          • Evolution of my netbook UI

            So how about you? What kind of Ubuntu interface do you use on your netbook? Do you just use Unity? Something more like my setup? I’m really curious about Kubuntu, but it’s a real CPU hog at this point. I haven’t figured out how to fix that yet.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Squeak, Scratch and Etoys on Ubuntu and Maemo

          It runs nicely on just about every platform, and I’ve been running it on Ubuntu as well as on my Nokia N900 cellphone for some time.

          I started my daughter off with simple logo type program commands. Soon, she was drawing triangles, squares, hexagons, circles, and designs that I used to create with a spirograph when I was a kid.

          We moved on to exploring a few other bits of programming and hit a few walls. The sound wasn’t working and some of the simple commands did not seem to do anything, so I figured maybe it is time to make sure that everything is up to date.

          Scratch runs in a Squeak virtual machine. “Squeak is a highly portable, open-source Smalltalk with powerful multimedia facilities.” I had been running Squeak 3.9 on my various machines, and Squeak 4.1 is now out. So, I’ve started my upgrade to Squeak 4.1.

      • Android

        • VA-API Support For Google Android Platform

          We have been tipped off that a few VA-API patches have hit the upstream libva tree for furthering along Google’s Android support for this video acceleration API. VA-API is arguably the second best video playback acceleration API available to Linux users, after the NVIDIA-created VDPAU.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Symbian Sputters Towards Open-Source Irrelevancy

    Remember two years ago when Nokia open-sourced the Symbian mobile operating system? The thinking was that cell phone manufacturers who depended on the Symbian OS could help keep it going. But it was already too late.

  • Librarians, developers push open-source alternative

    There is already a community around open-source library software, says Don Christie of open-source developer Catalyst IT, but it is developer-focused. The support and marketing around Koha and related products is not well coordinated, he suggests.

    ONL is an attempt to remedy that shortcoming, making New Zealand’s libraries more aware of the existence and potential of open-source software in the field.

  • Events

    • 9 Videos from the 2010 Blender Conference

      1. Ton Roosendaal – Keynote Presentation

      2. Andy Goralczyk – Speed Modelling

      3. Jonathan Williamson – Topology

      4. Pablo Vazquez – Compositing in Sintel

      5. Soenke Maeter – Lighting and Compositing in Sintel

      6. Beorn Leonard, Lee Salvemini and Jeremy Davidson – Bringing Sintel to Life

      7. Andy Goralczyk & David Revoy – Art Collaboration

      8. Andrew Price – The Big Issues

      9. Andrew Price – How to Raise Your Profile as an Artist

  • CMS

    • Hands-on: a first look at Diaspora’s private alpha test

      As the abuses and technical gaffes of the mainstream social networking operators contribute to growing concerns about privacy and autonomy in the cloud, it’s possible that users who are sensitive to such issues will begin to appreciate the availability of more open alternatives. Even if the open source options never gain serious mainstream momentum, they have the potential to draw some attention to the underlying issues that they are trying to solve. Diaspora doesn’t have to topple the entrenched giants in order to inspire positive changes in the industry; it just has to get a critical mass of people to start thinking more seriously about privacy issues and the right kind of interoperability.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Art Magazines, Journals and Catalogues at archive.org

      Scans of old (19th and early 20th century) art magazines, journals, and catalogues can be found on archive.org along with text extracted from them. These are a very useful resource for study of the history of art.

      Google Books is better for searching for them, but archive.org is better for downloading them.

  • Programming

    • Data Analysis with Open Source Tools Book Review

      Given the broad number of open source data collection and analysis libraries and utilities freely available on the Internet, the concept of combining data analysis with open source tools is a topic worthy of deeper exploration. How well does author Philipp Janert fair with this effort? Read on to find out.

      This is the second book review I’ve written in the past month that was written by a physicist turned software developer and book author. However, unlike Ruby on Rails Tutorial author Michael Hartl, Data Analysis with Open Source Tools Mr. Janert has pursued a consulting practice in algorithm development, data analysis, and mathematical modeling. As such, his specialty makes him the ideal subject matter expert to write such a book.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 and Flash battle it out for the future of the internet

      Whether your computer is showing colourful fish floating in an aquarium, bouncing balls, or a mouse pointer that takes on the form of a paintbrush, it’s probably thanks to Flash technology.

      But soon, many of these same features could be delivered by HTML5, an up-and-coming web standard. That would mean freedom from Adobe and its Flash Player plug-in. But will this new technology spell the end of Flash, Experts say – maybe.

      The recent decision by Apple boss Steve Jobs to pick HTML5 over Flash has caused the debate to perk up again. But at the end of the day, both technologies have their advantages – and their limitations.


  • The internet’s cyber radicals: heroes of the web changing the world

    A generation of political activists have been transformed by new tools developed on the internet. Here, a leading net commentator profiles seven young radicals from around the world

  • How Feelings of Gratitude Breed Happiness and Well-Being

    If you need another reason to give thanks at the dinner table on Thursday, how’s this: people who maintain an “attitude of gratitude” tend to be happier and healthier than those who don’t, according to a lengthy and instructive article this week in the Wall Street Journal.

  • The Vulture Transcript: Sci-Fi Author William Gibson on Why He Loves Twitter, Thinks Facebook Is ‘Like a Mall,’ and Much More

    When William Gibson published his seminal sci-fi novel Neuromancer in 1984, it seemed improbably dystopic. More than a quarter-century later, so much has changed that he now writes in the present tense. His latest book, Zero History, is the final volume of a loose trilogy that concentrates on a culture increasingly obsessed with branding and, well, stuff (though Gibson prefers the term “artifacts”). “I’ve always been, for whatever reason, very conscious of the world of things,” he says. We spoke at length with him about plenty of these things — from the iPad to those old-fashioned anachronisms called “books.”

  • NAO to publish new report on NPfIT – did BT get excessive payments?

    The National Audit Office is carrying out a new, fast-track investigation into the NHS IT scheme, including an inquiry into whether BT received £400m over market prices.

    The NAO has confirmed that it plans a further audit of the National Programme for IT [NPfIT], after a request by Conservative MP Richard Bacon, a long-standing member of the Public Accounts Committee, who has followed the scheme since its inception in 2002.

  • Science

    • Satellites Used to Track Black Friday Mall Traffic

      Those satellites in space don’t just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday 2010, they are actually taking pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday deals.

      The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Passive smoking kills 600,000 a year, including 165,000 children, says WHO

      More than 600,000 people, including 165,000 children, die every year from passive smoking, a report from World Health Organisation experts says today.

      The estimates from the first analysis of the true global toll are based on the best available data across 192 countries and the known effects of exposure.

    • Cigarette Makers Aggressively Recruit Smokers in Foreign Countries

      Philip Morris International has been especially aggressive in fighting marketing restrictions overseas. The company has deployed a $5 million campaign in Australia to fight a government plan that would require cigarettes be marketed in plain brown or white packages. PM designed the campaign to make it look like it was coming from small store owners, and got help financing it from competitors like BAT and Imperial Tobacco. The companies also argue that higher cigarette taxes will stimulate smuggling, but tobacco industry documents reveal that global tobacco companies are not only complicit in cigarette smuggling, but that they oversee it, and even depend on it to gain access to closed markets.

    • A Verbal Slip on Countdown

      During my interview on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC Wednesday night, I explained the sinister work of an industry-funded front group to discredit Michael Moore as a filmmaker and citizen and especially of his 2007 movie, Sicko. The PR firm hired by health insurers to do the evil deed set up and operated the front group, which it named “Health Care America,” to conduct a fear-mongering campaign designed to scare people away from the movie’s core message: that every developed country in the world except the United States has been able to achieve universal coverage for their citizens largely because they don’t allow big insurance companies to call the shots like they do here. I wrote about this in my book, Deadly Spin, in the chapter entitled “The Campaign Against Sicko.”

    • Insurers Gave U.S. Chamber $86 Million Used to Oppose Obama’s Health Law

      Health insurers last year gave the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $86.2 million that was used to oppose the health-care overhaul law, according to tax records and people familiar with the donation.

      The insurance lobby, whose members include Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Cigna Corp. of Philadelphia, gave the money to the Chamber in 2009 as Democrats increased criticism of the industry, according to a person who requested anonymity because laws don’t require identifying funding sources. The Chamber got the money from the America’s Health Insurance Plans as the industry urged Congress to drop a plan to create a competing government-run insurance plan.

    • Big Health Insurers Funneled $86.2 Million Through Chamber to Oppose Health Care Reform, in Just 2009

      The health insurance industry plowed $86.2 million into drumming up opposition to the health care reform bill, and that was just the money they spent in 2009. Big insurers UnitedHealth Group, CIGNA Corporation and others funneled the money to America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry’s lobbying group, which in turn gave it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is acting as a front group for big industries to influence elections.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Review of the TSA X-ray backscatter body scanner safety report: hide your kids, hide your wife

      I am a biochemist working in the field of biophysics. Specifically, the lab I work in (as well as many others) has spent the better part of the last decade working on the molecular mechanism of how mutations in the breast cancer susceptibility gene, BRCA2, result in cancer. The result of that work is that we now better understand that people who have a deficient BRCA2 gene are hypersensitive to DNA damage, which can be caused by a number of factors including: UV exposure, oxidative stress, improper chromosomal replication and segregation, and radiation exposure. The image below shows what happens to a chromosome of a normal cell when it is exposed to radiation. It most cases, this damage is repaired; however, at high doses or when there is a genetic defect, the cells either die or become cancerous.

    • A conspiracy of sentiment

      Yesterday Paul Chambers lost his appeal against his fine and conviction for posting a joke on twitter which was prosecuted under the anti-terrorist legislation.

      The case was so obviously ridiculous that everyone thought common-sense would prevail, but eschewing humour and reality, Judge Jacqueline Davies deemed the tweet “menacing in its content and obviously so. It could not be more clear. Any ordinary person reading this would see it in that way and be alarmed.”

    • US warns WikiLeaks against leak

      Whistle-blower website reportedly to release millions of confidential diplomatic cables between US government officials.

    • North Korea “readies missiles” as China seeks talks

      North Korea has placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads in the Yellow Sea, Yonhap news agency said, as the United States and South Korea began military drills and China called for emergency talks.

    • The Big Lie Selling You War With North Korea

      In short, the torpedo recovered from the ocean where Cheosan was attacked is NOT the same torpedo shown in the North Korean plans. As I stated above, there are additional differences as well between the blueprints and the actual torpedo, but the actuators are the clincher.

      The torpedo recovered fronm the oceasn where the Cheosan was sunk is not the North Korean torpedo shown in the blueprints.

    • Indian president backs Syria’s claim on the Golan Heights

      Speaking at a joint conference with Syrian President in Damascus, Indian President Pratibha Patil says India consistently supported Arab goals in the region.

    • Israel recruits citizen advocates in Europe

      Israel has instructed its embassies in 10 European countries, including the UK, each to recruit 1,000 members of the public to act as advocates for its policies in a new public relations offensive.

      A cable from the foreign affairs ministry was sent to embassies last week, with instructions from Avigdor Lieberman, the controversial and extreme right-wing foreign minister, to adopt a range of measures aimed at improving Israel’s standing in Europe.

    • Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels

      A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

    • China directs local media outlets to stop reporting WikiLeaks content

      While the world’s media are afire with yesterday’s WikiLeaks data release of secret US diplomatic cables, the local media in China are strangely quiet.

      The reason, according to a Twitter update by Al Jazeera English’s correspondent in China, Melissa Chan a short while ago, is that China’s Propaganda Department have directed all domestic media outlets to stop reporting the WikiLeaks content.

    • US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

      • More than 250,000 dispatches reveal US foreign strategies
      • Diplomats ordered to spy on allies as well as enemies
      • Saudi king urged Washington to bomb Iran

    • Siprnet: where America stores its secret cables

      How did such an enormous electronic database come into existence and then apparently be so easily leaked? The answer lies in the tag “Sipdis” which appears on the string of address codes heading each cable.

      It stands for Siprnet Distribution. Siprnet is itself an acronym, for Secret Internet Protocol Router Network. Siprnet was designed to solve the chronic problem of big bureaucracies – how to share information easily and confidentially among large numbers of people spread around the world. Siprnet is a worldwide US military internet system, kept separate from the ordinary civilian internet and run by the defence department in Washington.

    • Ten Theses on Wikileaks

      Disclosures and leaks have been of all times, but never before has a non state- or non- corporate affiliated group done this at the scale Wikileaks managed to with the ‘Afghan War Logs’. But nonetheless we believe that this is more something of a quantitative leap than of a qualitative one. In a certain sense, these ‘colossal’ Wikileaks disclosures can simply be explained as a consequence of the dramatic spread of IT usage, together with a dramatic drop in its costs, including those for the storage of millions of documents. Another contributing factor is the fact that safekeeping state and corporate secrets – never mind private ones – has become rather difficult in an age of instant reproducibility and dissemination. Wikileaks here becomes symbolic for a transformation in the ‘information society’ at large, and holds up a mirror of future things to come. So while one can look at Wikileaks as a (political) project, and criticize it for its modus operandi, or for other reasons, it can also be seen as a ‘pilot’ phase in an evolution towards a far more generalized culture of anarchic exposure, beyond the traditional politics of openness and transparency.

    • A Superpower’s View of the World

      251,000 State Department documents, many of them secret embassy reports from around the world, show how the US seeks to safeguard its influence around the world. It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy.

    • The TSA is invasive, annoying – and unconstitutional

      The protest on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving was called National Opt-Out Day, and its organizers urged air travelers to refuse the Transportation Security Administration’s full-body scanning machines.

      But many appeared to have opted out of opting out. The TSA reported that few of the 2 million people flying Wednesday chose pat-downs over the scanners, with few resulting delays.

    • Washington has a “Love Affair” with Terror

      Many questions remain unasked as the U.S. continues its war on terrorism. One is whether Washington possesses the moral right to condemn terrorism when its own hands are so bloody.

      Let’s examine our use of terror directed against civilians to achieve political or military goals, beginning with the atomic devastation of Japan. “Little Boy,” exploded over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, killed 130,000 people immediately (including a dozen U.S. POWs) and 200,000 within five years, all but some 20,000 of them civilians. Twenty-five square miles of civilization were gutted.

    • Raise A Glass to Wikileaks

      The well paid securitocracy have been out in force in the media, attacking wikileaks and repeating their well worn mantras.

      These leaks will claim innocent lives, and will damage national security. They will encourage Islamic terrorism. Government secrecy is essential to keep us all safe. In fact, this action by Wikileaks is so cataclysmic, I shall be astonished if we are not all killed in our beds tonight.

      Except that we heard exactly the same things months ago when Wikileaks released the Iraq war documents and then the Afghan war documents, and nobody has been able to point to a concrete example of any of these bloodurdling consequences.

    • TSA Groin Searches Menstruating Woman

      Yesterday we received a letter from a customer who wore her GladRags Pantyliner through a security scanner and was so traumatized by her resulting TSA genital search that she wanted to warn other women. (Read her letter below). Her past history of sexual assault made this experience a nightmare for her. At first we thought yes, we will warn people not to put themselves through this risk.

    • IDF: Covering Up the Murderous Crimes of Cast Lead

      On closer examination of sources it appears that Lt. Col. Aliyan left his position as Rotem commander in May 2008, six months before Operation Cast Lead. Therefore, he is not the Rotem commander who suppressed the death report in the following post. My apologies for not vetting the source more carefully. But thanks to two other Israeli sources we’re all convinced that we now have the right guy.

    • Settlers make water sources a tourist site and bar Palestinians from entering
    • US Should Withhold Support for Haiti’s Upcoming Election

      Haiti is scheduled to hold elections on Nov. 28, and nothing — neither the cholera outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people nor the fact that more than 1 million earthquake survivors remain homeless — seems likely to convince the Haitian government or its international backers that the vote should be postponed. It should be. Why? The electoral process is rigged. Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems happy to go along with the charade.

    • Inside the Whitehall kettle
    • Student protests: Met under fire for charging at demonstrators

      Scotland Yard is under pressure after video footage emerged of police officers on horseback charging a crowd of protesters during a demonstration against increases in university tuition fees, 24 hours after they denied that horses charged the crowd.

      Footage posted on YouTube showed mounted police riding at speed into a crowd of around 1,000 protesters who had gathered south of Trafalgar Square on Wednesday night.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil companies and banks will profit from UN forest protection scheme

      Some of the world’s largest oil, mining, car and gas corporations will make hundreds of millions of dollars from a UN-backed forest protection scheme, according to a new report from the Friends of the Earth International.

      The group’s new report – launched on the first day of the global climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, where 193 countries hope to thrash out a new agreement – is the first major assessment of the several hundred, large-scale Redd (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) pilot schemes. It shows that banks, airlines, charitable foundations, carbon traders, conservation groups, gas companies and palm plantation companies have also scrambled into forestry protection.

    • Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications

      The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change commits signatories to preventing ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’, leaving unspecified the level of global warming that is dangerous. In the late 1990s, a limit of 2°C global warming above preindustrial temperature was proposed as a ‘guard rail’ below which most of the dangerous climate impacts could be avoided.

    • Cancún is indeed a nest of serpents – sitting in a vast, toxic rubbish dump

      Next week, Mexico hosts the UN convention on climate change in Cancún. It is ironic that such an important conference on the environment should take place in a country whose environment has been devastated, and in a city that exemplifies everything you should not do if you wish to protect the environment.

    • World is warming quicker than thought in past decade, says Met Office

      The world warmed more rapidly than previously thought over the past decade, according to a Met Office report published today, which finds the evidence for man-made climate change has grown even stronger over the last year.

    • Get Touched by TSA, Win an iPod Touch

      What fun! We’re tracking all of these, and we’ll be getting in touch with the 10 iPod Touch winners (picked at random) on Monday, November 29 — because we want to catch all the time zones, and don’t want to miss you over the holiday. We’ll then contact you via Twitter to get your shipping info, and we’ll get your iPod Touch in the mail ASAP.

  • Finance

    • Chasing Returns

      I’ve spent much of this long weekend curled up on the couch reading Too Big To Fail, Andrew Ross Sorkin’s history of the financial crisis of 2008. I’ve wanted to read this book since it came out last year but it took me a while to get to it. I’m enjoying it very much.


      But I do think we are seeing signs of excess in the markets we invest in and I do think we are seeing investors chasing returns in deals they don’t fully understand. That is a red flag. And I am choosing to observe it, pay attention to it, and share it with all of you.

    • In Ireland, Low Corporate Taxes Go Untouched

      Cut Ireland’s minimum wage? Check. Collect more in property taxes from beleaguered homeowners? Check. Raise the corporate tax rate, which could plug the gaping hole in Ireland’s tattered balance sheets even faster? Well, no.

    • The Rise and Fall of Celtic Tiger – Ireland

      History is awash in rags-to-riches stories; they not only inspired generations of would-be entrepreneurs by offering a formula for success, but also provided the world with remarkable iconic figures to look up to.

      However, we hardly hear about rags-to-riches and then back to square-one stories. The economic crisis that is engulfing Ireland, the Celtic Tiger, is an intriguing case in point.

    • Thousands protest against Irish bailout

      More than 100,000 Irish citizens took to the streets of Dublin today to protest against the international bailout and four years of austerity.

      Despite overnight snow storms and freezing temperatures, huge crowds have gathered in O’Connell Street to demonstrate against the cuts aimed at driving down Ireland’s colossal national debt.

    • UPDATE: Thousands March In Dublin Demanding Irish Default, Election

      Thousands of people marched through Dublin Saturday, demanding the Irish government default on the country’s debts, call an immediate election, and reverse plans for tough budget cuts and financial support from the International Monetary Fund.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Stop the Internet Blacklist!

      Just the other day, President Obama urged other countries to stop censoring the Internet. But now the United States Congress is trying to censor the Internet here at home. A new bill being debated this week would have the Attorney General create an Internet blacklist of sites that US Internet providers would be required to block. (The first vote is scheduled Thursday, November 18!)

      This is the kind of heavy-handed censorship you’d expect from a dictatorship, where one man can decide what web sites you’re not allowed to visit. But the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to pass the bill quickly — and Senators say they haven’t heard much in the way of objections! That’s why we need you to sign our urgent petition to Congress demanding they oppose the Internet blacklist.

    • The Rise of Web Censorship

      You see, Torrent-Finder, which is back up under a new domain name, Torrent-Finder.info doesn’t host Torrent file or even BitTorrent file trackers. It’s just a search engine dedicated to file torrents such as movies, TV shows, or software programs. You can find the same file torrents with Google if you know what you’re doing. Torrent-Finder, and sites like it, just makes specific kinds of file searches easier.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • An apology to ebooks

      So I eventually succumbed. My joy of tech over won my aversion to the e-book reader and I bought a Kindle. The years fighting it and making better and better arguments for not needing or wanting one suddenly slip away.

      And I apologize. I still love and define myself large parts of myself by my physical library but I have become a follower. Instead of constantly needing to carry books inside my heavy laptop bag I have this little device. I can choose from a great library of works and I can read them in a dark corner in a crowded bus.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Operation Payback on The Pirate Bay appeal

        Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music’s main IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry) is down.

        We’re currently getting ‘try again’ messages for http://www.ifpi.org/.

      • Copyright Lawyers Sue Lawyer Who Helped Copyright Defendants

        Attorneys for the U.S. Copyright Group have filed a lawsuit against a lawyer who sold “self-help” documents to people who had been sued by the USCG, demanding that he pay the costs involved in dealing with the people who used the documents he sold.

        Try to stick with me here, because this one gets weird. Back in August, an attorney by the name of Graham Syfert began selling documents that would allow defendants in lawsuits filed by the U.S. Copyright Group to respond in court without having to fork over the huge piles of money needed to hire an attorney. The USCG sued “thousands” of BitTorrent users who had downloaded films like The Hurt Locker, Far Cry and Call of the Wild, demanding a settlement of $2500 to avoid the much more expensive proposition of going to court.

      • Sites With Government Seized Domains Are Moving On, On Twitter

        Last week while everyone was waiting for the COICA bill to move through Congress, the US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency one upped the Attorney General and seized domain names from a group of over 70 copyright infringing websites. A visit to the blacklisted domains now results in the ominous looking message from Homeland Security below.

      • January 1, 2011 will be Public Domain Day

        Every new year since the first copyrights expired, back around 1724, the world has looked forward to expiration of copyrights and the public domain availability of the works that have been kept under publishing monopolies.

        This coming January 1 Europeans will see a nice list of great works entering the public domain as the copyright terms expire, some listed below, but the United States, where their landmark Supreme Court Case decided that an extended copyright term could last literally forever, a person can no longer look forward to such happenings.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman

Credit: TinyOgg

Novell’s Last Week – Part VII: NOVL Goes Dark as Many Lawsuits Filed by Shareholders

Posted in Finance, Novell at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Novell is under an investors siege for signing a bad deal with AttachMSFT

Robert Pogson has had a terrible week and news from Novell was only part of the problem. As he put it in his blog:

M$ buying Novell through a third party controlled by M$ is interesting. It is obvious that they did not buy Novell directly to avoid anti-competition considerations but it seems a smoke-screen. It will be interesting to see how ugly GNU/Linux can be made when M$ manages things. They could just shut Suse down or diversify. It will be interesting to see how they sell two products that are so different.

The “anti-competition” part should warrant a lawsuit; but with this whole AttachMSFT loophole it won’t pass muster.

Novell is practically dead as a company and it will not report its results as it promised several weeks ago. It just won’t have to face this embarrassment. The stock is still publicly traded for the time being and financial news which mentioned Novell over the past week may include (not a complete list by any means):

  1. Top Gainers of NASDAQ in Technology Sector (LVLT, IGLD, NOVL, SNDK, STEC)
  2. Stocks Fall on European Debt Jitters (AMZN, BAC, FCX, GMCR, GS, HPQ, JPM, NFLX, NOVL, XOM)
  4. Monday Deals: Moody’s Buys CSI Global; Novell to Merge with Attachmate
  5. Mid-Day Update: Stocks Trending Lower; Ireland Remains Investor Focus Through Session’s First Half
  6. Market Alert – Top 9 Stocks to Watch
  7. Netflix, Novell pace broad tech gains
  8. US HOT STOCKS: Novell, Green Mountain, Netflix, Regeneron
  9. Citi Trends, Green Mountain, Netflix, Novell
  10. Volume Spike Detected in Shares of Novell as They Move Higher on 26.3x Above-Average Volume (NOVL)
  11. A Bailout for Ireland Weighs Heavily on Markets (yes, it mentions Novell)
  12. Rice Says Google Purchase of Groupon Is `Fantastic Idea’: Video (ditto)
  13. Irish bailout fails to prevent stocks slumping on Wall Street
  14. Nasdaq 3 Most Active Stocks (NOVL, GMCR and CRUS)
  15. Stock Gainers To Watch: NOVL, AFFY, CLDX
  16. Massey Energy’s Board Orders Review of ‘Strategic Alternatives’
  17. Apple Pulls Special SIM For iPhone 5
  18. US Stocks Drop As Worries Over Euro-Zone Debt Persist; DJIA Off 76
  19. US Stocks Sink; Financials Drop After FBI Raids Hedge Funds
  20. US STOCKS-Wall St drops on euro-zone debt worries, banks
  21. US STOCKS-Wall St drops on euro-zone debt worries, banks
  22. Top 5 Companies in the Technology Sector With the Best Relative Performance (CRUS, NOVL, VIT, SNDK, AMKR)
  23. Windows onto Microsoft’s enemies on Wall Street
  24. Most Active Stocks In Morning Session 11/22/10 (Citigroup, Novell, Bank of America, Las Vegas Sands, Cisco) by EquityMarketReport.com
  25. Stocks Fall on Irish Bailout; Tyson, M&A in Focus
  26. Bank worries drag down stocks
  27. Bye-Bye, Novell!
  28. Goldman, Tyson Foods, Novell are big movers
  29. Green Mountain Coffee And Novell Help Nasdaq Go Green
  30. Novell Jumped the Most in the S&P 500
  31. Moody’s Buys Financial Training Firm, Novell Goes Private
  32. Bank of Ireland, Dundee, Novell: U.S. Equity Movers
  33. Stock Market update: Stocks fall after fears of insider trading Wall Street FBI raid
  34. News Summary
  35. Nasdaq stocks posting largest volume increases
  36. Stocks Shed Losses to End Mixed
  37. Market Focus with Tom Hudson
  38. Thai Stocks May Snap Winning Streak
  39. Today’s Big Gainers: NOVL, REGN, TSO, HUM, OSUR, MAGS
  40. US stocks end mixed…Banks fall
  41. Weaker Opening For New Zealand Market
  42. Markets Close Lower after FBI’s Insider Trading Probe
  43. Stock Movers In Late Morning Session (SJI, Novell, APRI)
  44. Stock Movers In Late Morning Session (SJI, Novell, APRI)
  45. Percentage Losers in Review at NASDAQ Technology Sector are LTXC, VRGY, PWER, NOVL and SHOR
  46. Percentage Losers in Review at NASDAQ Technology Sector are LTXC, VRGY, PWER, NOVL and SHOR
  47. Options Brief: Novell, Inc. (NOVL)
  48. Today in Tech
  49. Business briefs: Economy to be feeble in 2011, experts predict
  50. BUYINS.NET: Market Maker Surveillance Report. HEME, XOP, IPWG, NYT, PFS, NOVL, Bullishly Biased Price Friction For Monday, November 22nd 2010
  51. Wall Street drops on euro-zone debt worries, banks
  52. Bank of Ireland, Dundee, Novell: U.S. Equity Movers
  53. CSCO, BRCD, ASTC, INTC, MU and NOVL are Most Active NASDAQ Stocks to Watch
  54. BestOfOTC.com Noticeable Active Stocks at NASDAQ: (CSCO, QQQQ, MSFT, BRCD, INTC, NOVL, ORCL)
  55. CSCO, BRCD, ASTC, INTC, MU and NOVL are Most Active NASDAQ Stocks to Watch
  56. U.S., World Stocks Fall on Korean Tension; GDP Revised Up 2.5%
  57. Hot Performers of the Day at NASDAQ – MYL, DELL, BRCD, NOVL, ARTG
  58. 7 Reasons to Worry About Next Week
  59. Nasdaq 3 Most Active Stocks (NOVL, BRCD and ORCL)
  60. Wall Street losses led by financials

Novell was mentioned a lot because of the deal with AttachMSFT. It also got sued by shareholders, from more than a single direction in fact. As one site put it, “Law Offices of Howard G. Smith Announces Investigation On Behalf of Shareholders of Novell, Inc. in Connection with the Proposed Acquisition of the Company by Attachmate Corporation” (there are many such investigations, not just one, e.g. from Finkelstein Thompson LLP [1, 2], Abe Shainberg, and Brodsky & Smith LLC). As Jupitermedia put it (in a blog post):

Not everyone is happy about Attachmate’s bid to acquire Novell for $2.2 billion. In fact, the deal has now attracted at least two (and likely many more to come) legal ‘investigations’ which could ultimately result in class action law suits.

One of the investigations is being led by Weiss & Lurie, a national class action and shareholder rights law firm while a second investigation is being run by Kendal Law Group, led by former federal judge Joe Kendall.

Both groups are going to examine whether or not Novell has breached its fiduciary duty with the proposed Attachmate deal, by not getting the best deal possible for Novell’s shareholders.

There should be antitrust action, not just this form action where money is the central issue. Novell’s board got filled with Microsoft-friendly people over the years, as we covered at the time it happened (multiple examples), so the sale of company assets to Microsoft is not at all shocking. It’s a fine example of entryism and market distortion.

Novell’s Last Week – Part VI: Novell’s Proprietary Business Faces Uncertain Future Under AttachMSFT

Posted in Novell, Videos at 11:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Despite lack of news coverage about Novell’s proprietary software assets, it is worth assessing the impact of AttachMSFT discontinuing parts of it

EWEEK claims that “Novell [Is] Saying Little About Post-Attachmate ZENworks Plans” and this relates to what we wrote a week ago.

It will be at least a week until Novell customers begin to get a clearer idea of what will happen with their favorite products after Attachmate closes on its acquisition of the company.

Regardless of what AttachMSFT will do with ZENworks, Novell has finally released some more behind-the-scenes footage from “ZENworks vs the World” (advertisement).

Here is the final outcome and a post-processed version. It’s quite nice.

Will AttachMSFT keep ZENworks alive and release more versions of it? This remains to be seen. Regarding identity management in general, there is this new article and video, but will Novell staff keep it alive under its new incubation wing? We are doubtful. Another product which might not make the cut at AttachMSFT is simply too immature and it has just been renamed "Vibe" (formerly "Pulse"). That was just days before the AttachMSFT deal got announced and Google sought a new home for its codebase (Vibe/Pulse mentioned in this article, as well as in [1, 2]). In more recent videos, as we showed earlier this month, Vibe started boasting more Microsoft integration and there is this new presentation about it.

Will AttachMSFT bother with Vibe, which is not even a finished product just yet? Whatever they decide to do, Novell’s marketing puppets (in Spanish) will carry on throwing videos into YouTube [1, 2], hoping for one last “hurrah” before the less successful operations get shut down. AttachMSFT is not a charity and being the proprietary company that it is, it is likely to behave like Oracle.

Within months or just weeks we won’t be hearing so much about Novell. Perhaps AttachMSFT will carry on using the trademark (like AMD uses “ATI”), but there has been no clarification about it.

Novell’s Last Week – Part V: AttachMSFT Might Sell UNIX

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amiga UNIX

UnixSummary: Novell clarifies that UNIX was not sold to Microsoft, but it is being passed over to AttachMSFT, which has little or no reason to keep it

Linux Australia says that SUSE is safe from Novell’s patent sale to Microsoft, but what about all the other distributions and companies? As Groklaw resumes covering more news from SCO vs. Novell [1, 2] one has to wonder if AttachMSFT will even bother with this case. HP shows up in this case now, as well:

HP has now joined the growing group of companies reserving its rights in the SCO bankrupty regarding SCO’s Notice of Cure Amounts in connection with SCO’s hoped-for sale of its assets. But its reason is different: it can’t find all the contracts SCO says it has with HP, and neither can SCO.

This is a case which does not matter so much anymore. Think about it. It matters a lot less because even if Novell wins, Novell is a goner. Is UNIX safer in AttachMSFT’s hands?

One blogger asks: “Is Open Source under Siege? Let’s Hope Not!”

In the last months, Oracle has stepped away from the open software community, focusing more on short-term monetizing of the open source products they have acquired from Sun Microsystems. There are speculations that Red Hat might have sold out the wider Open Source community in favor of its own customers in a sealed patent infringement settlement, which might have a similar effect as Novell’s deal with Microsoft which has let to calls to boycott Novell.

Now, Novell has been acquired by Attachmate, apparently backed by Microsoft, with the side-effect that at least 882 of Novell’s patents will be transferred to a Microsoft backed consortium.

As we stated earlier, UNIX is not the main problem here (not in the short term anyway) because as John Dragoon clarified when it became a PR disaster, “Novell [is] to retain UNIX copyrights” (immediate coverage from The H):

Novell has announced that it will be retaining the copyrights to the UNIX operating system. In the wake of the acquisition of Novell by Attachmate, which included a sale of intellectual property to CPTN, a Microsoft led consortium, there were questions raised over whether that intellectual property included the copyrights to the UNIX operating system.

This was also covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. As one site put it very concisely, “Novell has said that the copyright to its Unix operating system will remain with Attachmate Corporation after the merger, and not go to the Microsoft led CPTN Holdings.” Well, but who controls AttachMSFT?

Charles Schulz from LibreOffice wrote: “This is a security announcement: #Novell still owns the #Unix copyright. The kept the nukes but sold the bioweapons?”

Novell’s PR blog has generally gone quite silent and posted very little [1, 2] compared to its weekly average (the PR staff is probably busy somewhere else). Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer tells Glyn Moody: “IMHO #AttachMSFT will offer SUSE+UNIX as a package soonish to $BUYER.” That is a possibility too. James Turner says that patents are still the main problem to worry about:

Life is definitely less clear now that Novell is being consumed by Attachmate. For one thing, part of the deal involves transferring a big chunk of Novell IP to a company fronting for Microsoft. Hopefully, it’s just the normal collection of garbage software patents every big company seems to end up with, and not anything that would provide an avenue of attack against Linux.

Groklaw looks deeper as it tries to understand the nature of this deal:

Attachmate acquires Novell, then it combines Longview and Novell and then the combo is called Novell going forward. That’s what I read, anyway. So there will still be an Attachmate parent company and a Novell subsidiary, I guess, going forward, and Novell will hold the UNIX copyrights.

Anyway, here is Novell’s press release (spin) and some of the remaining coverage, the full extent of which is hundreds if not thousands of links.

In the next two parts we will look at investor lawsuits and proprietary software from Novell.

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